Modern building designs are placing swimming pools on upper floors in hotels, office towers, leisure parks, resorts and even private homes. The Nigerian real estate industry is not an exemption. The quest for creativity and luxury by project owners, especially those with a good degree of international exposure is pushing indigenous architects, builders and engineers out of their comfort zone. Renovation experts seeking to completely transform the spaces in a multi-floor building can apply the wonders of upper/suspended swimming pools. Adequately-sized swimming pools can be constructed into family living rooms on upper floors in multi-dwelling units or terraces where a common/open ground pool do not promote a sense of privacy. 'Swimming in the sky' or 'Swimming in the air' –type upper pools are major selling points for luxury apartments and hotels the world over.
Here are helpful tips when considering the construction of a suspended pool;
* Like every other suspended building member/component, there should be an accurate and detailed design that sizes the pool, maximizes its aesthetics and takes care of the head-room beneath the pool floor as well as maintainability. Likewise there is need for a structural engineering design that takes cognizance of the basic functional requirements of swimming pools which include strength, stability, durability, resistance to all internal and external forces, water pressure, vibrations and stresses in relation to the foundation support. Details of water flow pressure and pattern can be obtained from a water engineering analysis carried out by a water engineer for that purpose.
* Whether cantilevered or simply supported, ensure that the floor beams constructed to support the pool are properly connected to the structural support frame of the building. Where possible, connect the pool decks to these pool beams too because the pool decks normally carry highly concentrated load. The pool beams must be able to sustain the load of the swimming pool at full capacity.
* Whether pre-cast or cast in-situ, the pool floor should sit properly on the pool beams to promote structural balance.
* Damp proofing should be done on both the internal and external parts of the pool to sufficiently control movement of moisture/water.
* An effective system must be installed on the pool to enable pool water not to rise beyond a certain level so as not to spill out.
* The water pressure pipes should be built in such a way that movement of water flow and suction does not impede on the stability of the structural set-up.
* A light removable cover or barrier should be installed to prevent under-aged children from falling into the pool when not in use.
Constructing pools on upper floors is seen by some professionals as one heck of a task, but it isn't after all. The only big deal is that it doesn't allow for guess work and it cost more when compared to doing a ground pool. Adding an upper pool to that building makes it exceptionally attractive, luxurious and increases its market value. Think about that!
Engr. Osaz' ENOBAKHARE is an award-winning Contractor, Structural Engineer and the CEO of Heavens Contractors Ltd. He is involved in design and construction of buildings, roads and infrastructure projects across Nigeria.
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